Financial Services Tailor-Made for the Wine Industry
written BY LAYNE RANDOLPH | PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBYN LEE PHOTOGRAPHY
After spending a combined 15 years working for other bookkeeping firms in the Valley, Jessie Freeman and Sarah Feeley made the leap to establishing their bookkeeping and financial services business in September 2022. The business name they chose, Bespoke Winery Solutions, gives insight into their overall philosophy. “Bespoke” denotes a customized, tailored service emphasizing client needs.
“Everything we do is high touch. We spend a lot of time with the client upfront, getting to know their business and developing the necessary trust,” Jessie said. “We will work with a business’ CPAs to streamline processes if needed. And we don’t just give clients data; we interpret it.”
Jessie and Sarah provide bookkeeping and accounting services to small and mid-size wine industry businesses and give clients easily understood and implementable goals and procedures. “It depends on what the client needs. Sometimes it is just reconciling; sometimes, it’s designing processes. It is an important process to figure out exactly what’s warranted.”
The duo has some ambitious standards. For one, they meet every client jointly before deciding who will take the lead and primary responsibility. And then, once onboard, the client remains with that primary—they refuse to bring a client in the door to pass them off to someone else. The clients’ needs are carefully assessed before potential strategies and solutions are discussed and implemented.
A Napa native, Jessie was raised in Napa Valley and brings extensive knowledge of the region’s farming, grape-growing, and winery businesses. “I’ve seen the valley change so much,” she said. “Over the years, I’ve watched many smaller wineries get bought out by larger wineries. We want to give smaller wineries the assistance they need regarding business analysis, cash flow, and forecasting without hiring an in-house CFO or Controller.”
While both were involved with their young children’s elementary school activities, they found a friendship and eventually worked at the same firm. However, through the years, as the platforms and services provided became more online and “cookie cutter,” Jessie and Sarah wanted to combine their extensive financial experience and create a more curated client-focused approach that seemed to be lacking in the financial services industry.
Sarah jokes, explaining that she is incredibly passionate about cost accounting, a process vital to the wine industry. Sarah obtained Wine Industry Finance & Accounting and Wine Business Management certificates from the Wine Business Institute School of Business & Economics at Sonoma State University. A Colorado transplant with a hands-on background in hospitality, Sarah adds additional depth to the customer service-focused mentality of the team. “My experience in hospitality and restaurants taught me how to take care of people.”
Personalized service and responsiveness are the foundations of their business. “Our goal is to give winemakers and wine growers peace of mind, allowing them to return to the vineyard and cellar knowing their financials are being taken care of.” And taking care of people, small family winemakers, farmers, and wine businesses are at the core of the “Bespoke” approach that Jessie and Sarah aim to provide.